About this site

Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

This site will chart our ongoing adventures.

You can contact us here.

Where’s Play d’eau?

Find where Play d'eau is right now.

Click here.

Zoom in and our position will be shown on a map.

Recent Posts

Apartheid and Reconciliation

Langer township’s African Gospel Church
click to enalrge

We had no idea how much today’s tour of a township, District 6 and Robben Island, was going to affect us.

Township

Our guide warned us that we may find this tour somewhat gruelling. He was right. So very right.

Langer is a township, a mass of cheap one and two story concrete buildings where blacks were settled when being displaced from land which whites claimed for themselves.

Typically, a two small room building is now occupied by six people. One room for sleeping, the other serving as a kitchen and day room. Communal toilets serve many buildings. Running water and electricity is in many cases, a bonus.

We felt uncomfortable. Here was utter poverty and in their eyes we were white rich tourists looking at them and their environment. But we were told again and again not to feel bad since a proportion of the tour fees went to help the township.

Pottery is taught and the results are sold
click to enlarge

On the plus side, projects were underway where manual skills are taught and developed, and schools have sprung up. In one of them, 30 gorgeous, excitable three year olds sang to us. Their happy innocent, eager eyes and untainted souls made us wonder where they’d be in years to come. Lin and I wept.

We sang ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round’ to them as they squealed with delight.

There are no state hand-outs. The people of UK have no concept of poverty or the poverty line.

District 6

Moving to District 6 we first visited the museum where an ex-prisoner, originally incarcerated and beaten for spreading anti-government propaganda, showed us around, explaining what happened not only to the area, but to his family and hundreds of others.

The sand paintings were really beautiful
click to enlarge

Photographs and newspaper articles detailed the devastation of what happened.

Robben Island

By now, our minds were emotionally disoriented. I can’t think of a better term. Yet the hour and a half boat ride to Robben Island did nothing to prepare us for the next stage of our tour.

Another black ex-prisoner who’d also been beaten and tortured and held in the same prison block as Nelson Mandela, greeted us. Apparently, blacks could be imprisoned and kept without trial for as long as the authorities wanted. No time limits applied.

Dog kennels were twice the size of prison cells.

Although we were encouraged to take photographs of the prison and especially the tiny cell where Mandela was held, I couldn’t. I felt that if I did, I’d somehow be trivialising something of untold value that should be held just as it was and not consigned to digital format.

Revenge or Reconciliation?

Part of a giraffe sand painting
click to enlarge

The language we kept hearing from those who suffered for so many years was common. ‘Reconciliation, not retribution or revenge, only reconciliation.’

What a great and inspired leader Nelson Mandela was. Without him, one dreads to imagine the blood bath that would have undoubtedly happened.

Who can possibly follow in his footsteps?

Leaving Robben Island

Leaving the small Robben Island harbour, we were astounded by the thousands of cormorants that lined the breakwater.

Maybe one cormorant for each prisoner that perished here, I wondered.

Piers and Lin

Thousands of cormorants lined
Robben Island’s breakwater.
One per prisoner?
click to enlarge

Mount Nelson Hotel
…on temporary leave of absence fromPlay d’eau
Fleming 55
Beaucette Marina

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

1 comment to Apartheid and Reconciliation

  • Hil

    None of that unbelieveable horror will ever leave you-and yet, as visitors you were as butterflies-alighting,seeing and disappearing. Their horrors continued day after day after day and there was no escape for them. And yet they still smile and laugh. What a lesson for us all. I cannot imagine what will happen without Mandela to lead them…

    Lots of love, Hil x x

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>